Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Guest List: Digital Shortbread

Today, I am thrilled to have Tom from Digital Shortbread contributing to The Guest List! If you haven’t been following what Tom’s been doing over at DSB, you’ve seriously been missing out! Aside from his incomparable insight, you’ll be greeted with plenty of interesting tidbits and a chuckle or two over at DSB. So make sure you head on over and subscribe/follow!

Meanwhile, here at The Cinema Monster, we’re always looking for Guest List contributions. So, if you feel the need to partake, the instructions and criteria are posted below!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

I’m going to hand things off to Tom now, enjoy!

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As of late, and much to even my own surprise, I have had my nose stuck in a book. That’s right. A book. I . . . am . . . I am reading, I do read. . .yes, although the activity is far too much of a rarity for me these days. At least, when it comes to good old fashioned paperback-reading. The lovely blogs out here on the internet are mostly where I spend my reading time now, and everything out here is constantly so addicting it’s kind of easy to forget there are other forms of reading to engage in.

Finally, I am getting around to contributing something to one of these great pages I keep in my routine perusings. Joseph’s Guest List is something I’ve been trying to contribute to for some time now, but I’ve just never found the most inspiring topic to talk about, until now. Seeing that I’m deep into the book at this point, I’d figure this would be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the moments from Martin Campbell’s 2006 incredible adaptation of Casino Royale, stand-out moments in the film that I find truly represent James Bond, both the character and the story. Not only does this film qualify as one of my favorites in the Bond franchise, it’s one of them due to it’s successful and total reboot of the character itself, going back to before Bond earned his status as a Double-O agent. In fact it was done so well as to place the film on a short list of my favorite action films of all time. It really is that excellent. Without further ado, here are those scenes:

(These are in no particular order. . . because they are all just equally awesome moments.)

1) Catch me if you can: Sebastien Foucan (“Mollaka”)’s incredible athleticism in the film’s first blood-pumping action sequence marks a new level of ridiculous in movie stunt reels. His pivotal role as an unidentified bomb-maker attracts the attention of Bond, who must stop at nothing to track the man down and attempt to bring him into custody. That unfortunately will not be quite so simple. This scene is not only one of the first action sequences in the movie, it’s one of the best and a simply magnificent combination of using the skill of this unique athlete and a great temperature tester for the film that is to come.

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2) “That last hand nearly killed me. . .” While Casino Royale is littered with moments that demonstrate very clearly that we have a tougher, grittier Bond on our hands, there is arguably no moment that accents his hardened characteristics better than when he gets slipped a drink by one of Le Chiffre’s men during a round late in the poker game. This moment is desperate but it is also 100% 007 material. Daniel Craig in this moment is everything I’ve envisioned the guy being.

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3) After hours questioning: Mark Casino Royale down as being the movie that features arguably the best and most stunning Bond girls ever. Yes, I’m willing to start that argument right now, and yes I’m prepared to defend my position. Need I mention anything more than the dazzling Eva Green as Vesper Lynd? Or how about earlier in the film, when we are introduced to Caterina Murino’s Solange? Is it fair to say that these two top them all? Probably not. But I’m saying it anyway. Between the two of them, Casino Royale possesses some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve had the pleasure of ogling for a long long time.

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4) “Utter another syllable and I’ll have you killed.” No Bond film is ever complete without a moment of tension between 007 and his superior, M, played with gleeful acerbity by Dame Judi Dench. Shared writing duties amongst Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade seemed to pay off as they really nailed the relationship between these two, and no moment is better than when M discovers Bond in her apartment, casually browsing on her personal computer. What a cheeky bugger.

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5) Two orphans, a train and a half-decent plan: There are many things I love about this scene in the high-speed train en route to the high-stakes poker game set to take place in Casino Royale. But it’s the fact that the dialogue that flies between James and his most worthy female adversary in the gorgeous Vesper Lynd, a representative of the British Treasury on this risky mission, is some of the best dialogue found in the entirety of the Bond franchise. As the prickly accountant — who, by the way, isn’t entirely sold on the idea of MI6 pitting 007 in the game to begin with — and an always over-confident Bond get to know one another, words are weapons — they stab like knives and tear into one another’s psyches like bullets out of a chamber of a Walther PPK. It’s brilliant stuff.

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6) “Now the whole world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!” Again, this is one of those scenes I have many, many reasons for declaring it as a top 7 scene in Casino Royale, but. . .ultimately this comes down to the sheer intensity of Mads Mikkelsen’s increasingly desperate and vicious Le Chiffre. The obligatory torture scene is handled with aplomb, rendering it one of the more gut-wrenching yet refreshingly simple scenes in the entire ordeal. And there’s nothing quite like James’ ability to throw out some quips while Le Chiffre sets about busting his balls.

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7) Cold-hearted bastard, or bound by duty? This is what we always wonder about the often-ruthless, occasionally affectionate James Bond. A man with a sensitive trigger finger with a strong patriotic compass binding him to his missions. Where does he draw the line though? After he strangles one of his assailants in a hotel hallway, he leaves Vesper in a very fragile mental state and later discovers her breaking down in front of his eyes. It gives him pause, and it opens our eyes to the first moment of Bond finally being aware of his brutal actions. This scene is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and is among the top reasons I think so highly of Casino Royale.

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Tracks (2014)

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In case you missed the news, I’ve started contributing to The Cinematic Katzenjammer, in addition to Gone With The Movies. Of course, The Cinema Monster will still remain my home. That being said, it’d mean the world to me if you could head on over to The CK and give my latest review (Tracks) a gander. And while you’re there, feel free to drop a like/comment, seeing as the site is also run through WordPress! So logging in and such won’t be a hassle. Just click the link below!

Tracks (2014)

If you did happen to miss the notice last week, you might have missed out on my review of “The Trip to Italy.” Don’t feel left out, it’s very easily rectified. Simply click on the link below and it’ll immediately direct you to the article!

The Trip to Italy (2014)

The Guest List: Cindy Bruchman

The Guest List is back! Yes, you read that correctly. After a long hiatus, the first ever segment created here at The Cinema Monster has returned and it’s better than ever! Today we have Cindy Bruchman offering up her entry to The Guest List gods in hopes of bringing the segment back from the dead! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to Cindy’s outstanding site, you are seriously missing out. Honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more in depth, excellently written blog, and I’m sure this article will further cement that notion. The link to her site is above, so be sure to click on that and head on over!

Additionally, if you’re looking to submit your very own list to the segment, here’s how!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

Next week, we have Tom from Digital Shortbread featured on The Guest List, so look forward to that! Now, without further delay, I will now hand things over to Cindy!

Best Production Design in Film:

Production Design in film is the place to where the audience escapes. Creating the visual backdrop and supplying the context that moves the narrative forward, it’s the art behind the film.

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Thanks to Joseph at http://www.cinemamonster.com for accepting my “Top 10″ list about the history of Production Design in film. Shouldn’t a cardinal rule in films be to offer great artistic design? After all, film is a visual experience that clings to your consciousness; the chance to create an alternate reality is a powerful medium. When I think of beautiful films, the ones that pop into my head are settings which showcase the grandeur of nature. Flawed films are elevated when breathtaking natural settings such as Legends of the Fall or The Last Samurai surround mediocre scripts. Take a strong script and watch the film catapult to near-perfection like Last of the Mohicans. Some criticize directors for providing style over substance like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, but they get away with it because they create artistic wonderlands.

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Originally called “Best Art Design” the category was renamed in 2012. Since 1947, it has shared the award with “Set Decorator”. Looking at the Academy Award winners, I’ve tried to narrow down the ‘Best of the Decade’ from 1920s to the present. Since it’s my list, feel free to disagree. I’m just sticking with Oscar winners. Your favorite film might never have been nominated and unjustly so. Here’s my Top 10 by decade:

One: 1920s

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There were only two years to choose from, 1927/28 and 1928/29. I picked The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It’s a remake of the Thorton Wilder Pulitzer winning book. A great read. Have you seen the 2004 version starring Robert DeNiro?

Two: 1930s

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In 1938, Warner Brothers released this swashbuckling classic starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, and Basil Rothbone (What a name!) Filmed in Technicolor, the original men in green tights never looked so good.

Three: 1940s

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Now it gets harder. Citizen Kane and Rebecca were nominated but did not win. Those that did win, Gaslight, Anna and the King of Siam, and The Yearling had memorable art design. But, I’m going to pick my favorite ballet film, The Red Shoes (1948).

Four: 1950s

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Oh, boy. Look at these mighty contenders: Ben-Hur. On the Waterfront. Gigi. A Streetcar Named Desire. Sunset Boulevard. An American in Paris. How can I pick only one?

I’m going to go for my personal favorite. Dr. Nemo’s underwater world mesmerized me. That organ! Remember Bach’s Taccata in D? How perfect for the mysterious journey. My bet goes to the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre.

Five: 1960s

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Anthony Masters is the man. 2001: A Space Odyssey was nominated but did not win in 1968. Other winners throughout the decade included Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, and Camelot, but I have to go with my heart and proclaim West Side Story the winner of the decade.

Six: 1970s

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With grand choices like Cabaret, The Sting, and Patton to choose from, I opted for my film favorite, Star Wars.

Seven: 1980s

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This decade was easy to pick. Dangerous Liaisons was a perfect period piece.

Eight: 1990s

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A fabulous decade for film, I suggest a tie for 1993, Schindler’s List and 1997, Titanic.

Nine: 2000s

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Okay, I know I’m supposed to pick Avatar, but I don’t want to. I’m not really a fan of the film. With CGI in full swing, worlds are magical places. It makes it harder to pick from Memoirs of a Geisha, Moulin Rouge! Chicago, Lord of the Rings I – 3, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I vote for the stunning world of the 1920s and classic Hollywood, The Aviator.

Ten: 2010s

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This should be easy, right? There’s only four choices: Alice in Wonderland, Hugo, Lincoln, and The Great Gatsby. Since I just picked Leo and the 1920s, I’ll skip it. Though I can do without Johnny Depp in make up, wonderland was a magical place and worthy of the award.

Would you dare to pick an overall winner from the 1920s to the present? CGI seems like cheating to me. It was harder to create colorful, magical places that were believable back in Hollywood’s classic era. That’s why The Red Shoes wins for me.

The Trip to Italy (2014)

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Since I started blogging a little over a year ago, I’ve been fortunate enough to make a ton of new friends, simply through a reciprocated love of film and television. Additionally, I’ve been given more opportunities to expand my craft and following through new outlets. The Cinematic Katzenjammer and its wonderful staff welcomed me and my contributions with open arms and I am eternally grateful. So please, head on over and check out my latest review, and while you’re there, be sure to have a look around! It’s run on WordPress, so please login and drop a like and/or comment. You can find my review and be redirected to the site by clicking below. Thank you!

The Trip to Italy (2014)

Top 10 Episodes of Community

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It might not have lasted for as long as its television comedy brethren like “The Office” or “How I Met Your Mother,” but “Community” built up a rather admirable cult following during its 5 season run. A devout fan base who’s loyalty and passion is equal to, possibly even greater than the more illustrious, long-running shows. That being said, having such a dense, furious following leaves a significant amount of room for disapprovers to flourish. I’m in the former, however, a majority of the people I surround myself with tend to dislike the show…intensely. There’s really no middle-ground here, one either loves or hates “The Greendale 7” and their weekly antics. Whether that may be rescuing their dean from the clutches of a deranged, former Spanish teacher, a bottle episode, or referencing their all-time favourite films, “Community” is gone too soon, even if it is only one season.

Much like the show itself, you’ll either enjoy this top 10, or it’ll completely baffle and/or infuriate you. Regardless, without further delay, let’s get into it!

 

10: Home Economics: Season 1, Episode 8:

Highlight: “Getting Rid of Britta”

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9: Herstory of Dance: Season 4, Episode 8

Highlight: Brie Larson

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8: Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps: Season 3, Episode 5

Highlight: Test Result Reveal

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7: A Fistful of Paintballs/For a Few Paintballs More: Season 2, Episodes 23/24

Highlight: The Insecurity of Jeff

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6: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Season 2, Episode 14

Highlight: The Origin of “Fat Neil”

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5: Pillows & Blankets: Season 3, Episode 14

Highlight: Shot entirely like Ken Burn’s “The Civil War”

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4: Modern Warfare: Season 1, Episode 23

Highlight: Chang’s Epic Entrance

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3: Regional Holiday Music: Season 3, Episode 10

Highlight: Annie’s Christmas song/Abed and Troy’s rap

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2: Epidemiology: Season 2, Episode 6

Highlight: Zombies and Abba

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1: Contemporary American Poultry: Season 1, Episode 21

Highlight: “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” references

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SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!